Report and Reaction: Gauld and White blow up a storm for Whitecaps in the windy city

Report and Reaction: Gauld and White blow up a storm for Whitecaps in the windy city

(Photo Credit: @soldierfield/Instagram)

Vancouver Whitecaps headed to the windy city on Wednesday night and blew up a storm with a confident performance and a 1-0 victory, that belies how much better than Chicago Fire the visitors were.

The ‘Caps should have been out of sight by halftime after being dominant in the first 45 minutes, but a 19th minute goal that just crossed the line from Brian White was all they had to show for their pressure. It proved to be the match winner, as Vancouver again made it more difficult for themselves than they should have, but a poor Chicago side didn’t really threaten them and the Whitecaps made it two wins from two to start their grueling seven game road stretch.

With three matches in eight days, Vanni Sartini went with some rotation, making three changes to the team that won in Portland on Saturday night. Lining up in a 3-1-4-2 formation, Sebastian Berhalter, Pedro Vite, and Ryan Raposo all cmae in to start in Chicago.

The ‘Caps came out strong and their fast interplay and high press was causing no end of early problems for Chicago, but it was the home side that came close to opening the scoring against the run of play when Kei Kamara was played in and brought a strong save out of Yohei Takaoka with 10 minutes on the clock.

That brought some spark to the Fire, who started to come into the game more after that, with Kamara having another chance nine minutes later with an acrobatic bicycle kick that didn’t miss by much.

The opener came moments later as the game swung back to Vancouver, who both took the lead and took back control.

A quick Whitecaps break saw Gauld slip the ball inside to White, who scrambled home from close range despite the efforts of Fire keeper Chris Brady to claw it back over the line. Video review showed it was close, but the full ball did go over and the ‘Caps had the lead and White had his 10th of the season in league play.

The assist made Gauld the assist leader for Vancouver in the MLS era and he then had three chances to double the ‘Caps tally, the best of them coming in the 29th minute when Raposo slipped in the Scot, who rounded Brady but the ball ran just a little bit too wide and his shot crashed off the right post.

The link up play and understanding between Gauld and White was a sheer joy to watch and it nearly paid off again in the 36th minute when Gauld cut the ball but to White, but his fierce strike was turned away by Brady.

Vancouver were quickly pouncing on all giveaways and mopping up the loose balls, with Chicago looking a bit disconnected defensively and forced to play on the back foot and try and get something, anything going primarily on the counter.

Despite all the pressure and chances, the ‘Caps had to settle for just a narrow one goal lead at the half and you wondered if they would be made to rue that.

And as you’d expect, Chicago came out with more intensity and purpose at the start of the second half, taking the game to Vancouver.

Ousmane Doumbia saw a deflected effort from the edge of the box crash off the bar in the 52nd minute, but that was as close as the Fire got from their initial burst of action.

There wasn’t much coming back in return from the ‘Caps, who were seeing out the match without having to expel too much energy.

Vancouver’s best chance for a second actually came from the head of Fabian Herbers, who nearly powerfully headed a Gauld cross past his own keeper in stoppage time.

The final whistle went and the Whitecaps made it back to back away wins for the first time this season. It also made it four wins from their last five MLS matches, and three wins from their last three MLS road games, so things are starting to move in the right direction.

It was also the first clean sheet in 12 matches and 101 days. A key for the the ‘Caps if they are to do anything come the postseason.

When the fixtures came out for the season, this road stretch loomed large and felt like it could make or break the Whitecaps playoff hopes. But it’s been so far, so good. Can they make it three out of three in New York on Saturday? With the confidence in the team right now and they fantastic play of Gauld and White, you certainly wouldn’t be betting against them.

FINAL SCORE: Chicago Fire 0 – 1 Vancouver Whitecaps

ATT: 9,187

19’ – VAN – Brian White (Ryan Gauld, Richie Laryea)

Possession: CHI 53.4% – VAN 46.6%
Shots: CHI 14 – VAN 10
Shots on Goal: CHI 3 – VAN 4
Saves: CHI 4 – VAN 3
Fouls: CHI 13 – VAN 14
Offsides: CHI 0 – VAN 1
Corners: CHI 4 – VAN 5

CHICAGO: Chris Brady; Carlos Teran, Mauricio Pineda (Arnaud Souquet 46′), 5.Rafael Czichos; Maren Haile-Selassie, Federico Navarro, Ousmane Doumbia (Fabian Herbers 65′), Miguel Navarro; Xherdan Shaqiri (Georgios Κoutsias 78′), Kei Kamara, Brian Gutierrez [Substitutes not used: Spencer Richey, Daniel Aceves, Kacper Przybylko, Wyatt Omsberg, Jonathan Dean]

VANCOUVER: Yohei Takaoka; Javain Brown, Ranko Veselinović, Tristan Blackmon; Sebastian Berhalter; Richie Laryea (Sam Adekugbe 68′), Ali Ahmed (Alessandro Schöpf 60′), Pedro Vite, Ryan Raposo (J.C. Ngando 79′); Brian White (Sergio Córdova 78′), Ryan Gauld [Substitutes not used: Isaac Boehmer, Mathías Laborda, Levonte Johnson, Simon Becher, Russell Teibert]




On winning two straight on the road:

“Pleased is to say not too much. I’m very happy. In Italian we say the appetite comes when you eat. So now let’s try to make it three on Saturday.”

On the match:

“I think we played a fantastic first half, they couldn’t figure out how we were playing and we had five or six chances, I think the 1-0 was a little bit of a liar result. We should have been maybe two or three goals ahead. In the second half our quality went a little down, also because they started to play a little bit more direct. They were floating balls onto Kei [Kamara] and we weren’t able to get out of the pressure very well, like we like we did in the first half. So we had to defend more and we defended very well. They had one big chance but it was like a deflection when they hit the post or the bar. So I think we defend extremely well. We showed I would say the two phases that are very important, the two halves that are very important if we want to become a top team, we need quality and we need character, especially on the road. Today we had massive quality on the first half and massive character in the second half.”

On Ryan Gauld and Brian White:

“They’re both fantastic players, players that play for the team, players that do exactly what they do. So I think we need to high praise them. But I want to praise a lot Sergio [Cordova] too today. He came [on] at 50 minutes, not being 100 percent. He gave everything for the team, he got four fouls, so that’s the spirit that we need to have in order to make even more wins on the road. And if we do more wins on the road, the playoff spot is going to be there. So we need to keep working at this point extremely hard. There’s another five games in a row away before we come back to BC Place. But we need to make points.”


On the result heading into Saturday’s match:

“It’s important. Obviously, it’s no secret that we’ve struggled on the road previously so we’re hoping to right that ship. It’s been two in a row now and all the focus is onto the New York game now. It’s another opportunity to get three points on the road and it’s going to be a tough challenge. It’s a difficult place to play, I know from experience, it feels a bit different with the baseball pitch. So we just have to recover and be prepared for that.”

On his partnership with Ryan Gauld:

“I don’t really know if you can pinpoint one thing exactly. I think, from day one, we’ve had this connection on the field, I think it’s only grown since on and off the field. It’s fun to play with him on the field, we know each other’s movements, we kind of understand where we’re going to be without even really looking so it makes the game really fun and hopefully we just continue the way we’re going.”


On the game:

“Second win in a row in away games, in this stretch of seven games that are big for us. We climb up the standings again. The game was tough ’til the end, we knew it was going to be like that. We scored first, that was good. It’s always for us good when we score first so we can wait and attack from transition. First half was unbelievable, we should have scored like two or three more goals but second half, they came out a little bit higher, a little bit more aggressive. It’s really nice to get a clean sheet especially, we had a long stretch without one so now this is a really good boost of confidence.”

On preparing for a quick turnaround on Saturday:

“We need to do good recovery first tomorrow and then it’s a big, fast turnaround. On Friday we need to do everything tactically to prepare for that game. It’s going to be different because, I don’t know, not many of us [have] played in that stadium and everybody says it’s a little different so it’s going to take some time to adjust but we need to get into the game, first 15 minutes really focused to answer their aggressive game and then try to score again [the] first goal.”

Authored by: Michael McColl

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